Bill signed delaying elections to allow for redistricting to be completed
Mike Seals - May 7, 2021 1:32 pm
OKLAHOMA CITY – Legislation was signed into law Wednesday to delay elections this December, January and March that would interfere with ongoing redistricting efforts. Requested by the State Election Board Secretary, Senate Bill 347prohibits municipalities and political subdivisions from holding an election on the second Tuesday of December 2021 or the second Tuesday of January or March 2022 for the offices of U.S. Representative, State Senator or Representative and County Commission districts following the reapportionment of those districts. Senate Redistricting Committee chairman, Sen. Lonnie Paxton, R-Tuttle, authored the measure.
“The pandemic significantly slowed the national census, so Oklahoma, along with all the other states, won’t be able to complete redistricting this session, but will have to reconvene in special session later this fall to complete our work,” Paxton said. “Because of this, the Election Board wanted to delay any elections from December through March to have sufficient time to properly implement the new precincts associated with the updated district boundaries. I want to thank Representative Martinez for his help on this important bill as well as all his work and insight as we’ve worked through the long and tedious redistricting process the past year.”
Additionally, the bill will allow for special elections in June of odd-numbered years to fill vacancies.
House Redistricting Committee chair, Rep. Ryan Martinez, R-Edmond, was the principal House author of SB 347.
“It’s important for us to have this moratorium in place to allow the State Election Board time to redraw precincts after the Legislature completes this year’s redistricting process,” Martinez said. “This was a request from the state election secretary, and I’m glad to see it signed into law. In addition, one of my colleagues pointed out that we needed to have in place a mechanism to call an election to fill a vacancy, and this addresses that request as well.”
SB 347 became law upon the governor’s signature.